Maine Turnpike Authority

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine Turnpike traffic is on the rebound after falling by half this year during the earlier days of the pandemic. Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills says the upward trend started two weekends ago, under sunny skies.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Traffic on the Maine Turnpike over the holiday weekend was a far cry from the usual Memorial Day onslaught that kicks off the state summer tourist season.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer tourism season, but highways are going to be lightly traveled for the holiday weekend this year.

According to the Maine Turnpike Authority, traffic is down by over half. The last time numbers were this low was back in 2000.

That said, the turnpike will probably be the busiest since stay-at-home orders were imposed back in March.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

With much of the economy put on pause and Mainers told to stay home as much as possible, road traffic is in decline.  Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz spoke with Maine Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills about how traffic patterns on Maine's primary interstate highway have changed since the governor issued a stay-at-home order for the state.

Traffic on the Maine Turnpike has fallen drastically - by about half - in recent days.  Meanwhile, the Maine Turnpike Authority has sent most staff home, but is planning to continue construction for now.

A Maine Turnpike spur to South Gorham is still years away, but Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills says he will ask his board Thursday to approve possible purchases of land for it.

Maine Public File

The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to support improvements to the region's mass transit systems.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine Turnpike Authority officials say they expect traffic on the roadway this holiday weekend to exceed last year's "banner year."

Maine To Change 'Open For Business' Sign To 'Welcome Home'

Jan 10, 2019
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine is moving forward with plans to replace its "Open for Business'' highway sign with one that reads: "Welcome Home.''

Construction for a new toll plaza in York could begin next month. The Maine Turnpike Authority has given the $39.5 million contract to build it to the Woolwich construction company Reed and Reed.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Turnpike Authority voted Thursday to widen a portion of the highway that runs from Exit 44 in Scarborough to just north of Exit 48 in Portland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A spokesman is blaming "petty partisan politicians'' for Republican Gov. Paul LePage's decision to halt his nominations for individuals to state boards and commissions.

There's been a steady flow of traffic into Maine ahead of the July 4th Holiday, but nothing that's caused traffic jams or overwhelming problems on Maine's turnpike, according to Maine Turnpike Authorities.

Executive Director Peter Mills says traffic was "huge" last Friday and Saturday, but it didn't beat last year's measurement for the same day of the week. He says it's likely people traveling to the state started early.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Turnpike Authority wants public input on the future of the increasingly busy stretch from Scarborough to Falmouth.

The authority is holding a public advisory committee meeting Wednesday in Portland.  The goal is to complete a report of the growing safety and capacity challenges by June.

MTA spokeswoman Erin Courtney said traffic volumes are at record highs after growing about 3 to 5 percent a year over the last three years.

Independence Day is still four days away, but Maine Turnpike Authority officials expect to see heavier traffic, beginning today.   

"We're expecting, approximately, over 600,000 vehicles to travel the Maine Turnpike Friday and Saturday alone," says spokeswoman Erin Courtney.  "And then, with it [the Fourth of July holiday] falling on a Tuesday, the exodus is to be, probably, more dispersed."

Overall, officials expect traffic to increase more than 1 percent over last year.